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The Hard Road to Renewal: Media Representations of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Zuo, Can (2019) The Hard Road to Renewal: Media Representations of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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In this thesis, I aim to explore how the Chinese Cultural Revolution has been represented in the media, mainly in films and television dramas, from the 1980s to the early 2010s. Drawing upon textual analysis, conjunctural analysis and the concept of articulation, I examine how the historical past is intertwined with the present China, how the hegemony of the Chinese Communist Party has been established and challenged after the Cultural Revolution, and how ideology works through media. I take class struggle as the core of the Cultural Revolution, and present the complexity of the Cultural Revolution as the background of the media representations. I argue that the traumatic narratives produced by intellectuals in the 1980s were characteristic of the understanding and reception of the Cultural Revolution. By contrast, since the 1990s, the narratives of the Cultural Revolution fell into three groups, represented by the working class, red nobility, and zhiqing, each depicting the turbulent decade in different ways,and corresponding to different social strata in the present. The most significant change in the media representations of the Cultural Revolution lies in the collapse of the common sense of modernization centred on economic development in the 1980s. Moreover, what is embodied in the changing narratives is the dilemma of ideology brought about by the cleavage between class discourse and class reality. In other words, the ambiguity lies in how to continue market reform without challenging the legitimacy of China’s claim to be socialist. In addition to the extensive analysis of the media representations of the Cultural Revolution and the investigation into the contrast between history and memory, I aim for my research to contribute to the political analysis of this scholarship, which I believe is timely in the current situation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Can Zuo
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2019 08:15
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2019 08:15

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